The J. Paul Getty Museum

Panel with Painted Image of Isis

Object Details


Panel with Painted Image of Isis






Egypt (Place Created)


A.D. 100–200


Tempera on wood

Object Number:



40 × 19 × 1.3 cm (15 3/4 × 7 1/2 × 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Her elaborate headdress and the characteristic "Isis knot" in her mantle identify the goddess Isis. The headdress combines floral elements with a central uraeus, all covered by a transparent veil. The goddess carries a staff on one shoulder and a wreath of pink flowers, like those seen on portraits of her worshippers, draped over the other.

In traditional Egyptian religion, Isis was the wife and sister of the chief god Osiris. The evil god Seth murdered Osiris and scattered parts of his dismembered body throughout Egypt. The bereft Isis found all the parts but one, reassembled and wrapped them in linen and revived Osiris enough that she conceived a child, Horus, by him.

Although their names changed, this holy family remained important in Ptolemaic and Roman times. Aspects of the traditional gods Osiris and Horus were incorporated into the new Hellenized deities Serapis and Harpocrates, who joined Isis in a holy triad. By Hellenistic times, the worship of Isis had developed into a mystery religion that spread throughout the Mediterranean because it promised a happy, carefree afterlife to its initiates.

by 1973 - 1974

Nicolas Koutoulakis, 1910 - 1996 (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1974.

Fayum Portraits: Painted Portraits from Roman Egypt (March 24, 1981 to 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 24, 1981 to December 1, 1997
Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt (March 13, 1997 to April 30, 1998)
  • The British Museum (London), March 13 to July 20, 1997
  • Palazzo Ruspoli (Rome), October 22, 1997 to April 30, 1998
Aurea Roma: Dalla citta pagana alla citta cristiana (December 21, 2000 to April 20, 2001)
  • Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Comune di Roma (Rome), December 21, 2000 to April 20, 2001

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Williams, Kyle Lee. "Turning Toward Earth: Themes, Sources, and Influences in the Emerald Tablet." Psychological Perspectives 59, no. 1 (2016), pp. 72, ill.

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